This recipe will produce 2 x 600g loaves. One for yourself and one for a friend. Alternatively, the baked loaf can be frozen.
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700g wholemeal spelt flour
15g fresh yeast (7g of dried yeast)
35g black treacle (or honey/molasses)
510ml water 2 x 400g
(1lb) loaf tins or 20cm (8inch) proving baskets
Mix together the wholemeal spelt flour with the treacle and salt in a bowl. Crumble the yeast into the flour. Form a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the water. Bring the ingredients together to form a rough dough. Turn out on to a clean work surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes or until the windowpane effect is achieved. The dough should be mostly smooth and elastic.
Tip: When working with spelt flour the dough requires slightly less kneading than when using regular wheat flour.
Once the dough has been sufficiently kneaded, place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or wrap in cling film and let it rest for 20-30 mins at room temperature.
After 30 minutes turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and stretch the dough out like a sheet. At this stage we want to incorporate a fold which helps to build strength within the dough. Fold the dough like an envelope. Left over right, then top over bottom. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rest for another 20-30 minutes. Again, turn the dough out onto a clean work surface then stretch the dough out and fold like an envelope. Return to the bowl and prove for a further 60 minutes
Turn out the dough on to a clean kitchen surface and knock back. Knocking back is exactly what it sounds like, you want to knock the air from the dough. Divide the dough into two (use a weighing scale for accuracy) then shape the dough into a rough round shape.
If making a round loaf, shape the dough to form into a tight ball. (You can watch how to shape the dough in this video). Place the shaped dough upside down into a floured proving basket, seam side facing up, or alternatively in a bowl lined with a lightly floured tea towel will work fine (without the cloth, your loaf will stick in the bowl and you won’t be able to turn it out).
Alternatively, the dough can be shaped and placed into a bread tin. (You can watch how to shape the dough in this video). Once the dough has been shaped, place it in a floured loaf tin (first brush the tin with melted butter so that the flour sticks to the sides).
Leave the dough to prove at room temperature for about 50 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/425°F/Gas 7 and place a baking tray in the bottom of the oven to heat up. This tray will be used to create steam when baking the bread. Turn the dough out of the basket onto a baking tray (a separate baking tray not the one that has been preheated in the oven) and score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or baker’s razor blade. Or if using a bread tin, dust the surface of the dough with some wholemeal spelt flour before placing into the oven.
Place the loaves in the oven. To create a blast of steam throw in some ice cubes or hot water from a kettle onto the preheated baking tray. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base.